I wrote this because the number of pictures of Adrien that Marinette had in Troublemaker was frankly ridiculous and unbelievable...unless Marinette's collection was augmented by someone (or two someones) with mischief on the brain.
It started out as a tickle of a thought in the back of Alix Kubdel's mind. She snickered briefly at it and then refocused on her homework, re-reading a passage for French Lit.
But the idea was not forgotten. Not fully, at least.
"I don't think he's capable of taking a bad photo," Marinette said dreamily the next day as their little group of girls sat together during a break between classes. She was staring at a page in a fashion magazine. Alix didn't have to be a genius to deduce that Marinette was talking about Adrien yet again. "He's just so-"
"I'm pretty sure that his father and the photographer probably weed out any photos that aren't great," Alix told her, cutting Marinette off before she could finish her sentence. She really didn't need to hear about how dreamy or handsome or bla bla bla Adrien was another time. Ever since Marinette and Alya had decided to "let her in" on the "secret" of Marinette's crush on Adrien (it wasn't a secret. It really wasn't. Even Kim had caught on ages ago, which said something about how obvious Marinette was), she had had to hear Marinette's gushing.
(Alix was starting to think that Alya had only pushed to let the other girls in on the 'secret' so that she wouldn't have to put up with the Adrien-talk by herself. As much as it could annoy her, Alix couldn't really blame Alya for that.)
Besides, Adrien was hardly dreamy and cool all the time Anyone who believed that believed in a lie, because Adrien was a giant dork. Anyone who spent more than a few minutes with him knew that much. It was hard to keep a straight face around Marinette's dreamy sighs over Adrien when Alix had seen him fighting to keep a pencil balanced on his nose longer than Nino earlier in the day and pouting when he lost, or when she had spotted him making outrageous hair styles with his ridiculously long hair.
(Despite what Marinette said about Adrien being able to pull off any look, Alix knew better. Adrien could not pull off a mohawk. It just... no.)
Still, Marinette was stubbornly shaking her head. "I bet they only have to choose between great photos! He does a great job with his modeling-"
And Alix tuned her out, mind churning deviously as the others discussed ideas for having Marinette ask Adrien out.
Surely there had to be some awkward photos of Adrien out there, considering how much of a following he had in Paris and how many photos got snapped of him on a daily basis. And some of his fans would post any photos of him, even bad ones, just to prove that they had seen him.
Alix decided to make it her personal mission to track all of those photos down to bury Marinette under them. And what she found made her very, very happy.
There were so many photos of Adrien looking supremely uncomfortable as he was pulled into a selfie with one fan or another (those got cropped so Adrien's ridiculous expressions filled the whole screen). There were photos of him dashing down the street away from fans, photos of him laughing with friends, photos of him with his bodyguard and Nathalie, photos of photoshoots but from another angle, photos of him getting photoshoot makeup touched up, photos of him messing around and purposefully pulling weird faces.
In short, there were a lot of photos. Not all of them were good. Alix cackled as she printed them all off and stuck them in a folder to bring to school. She would have to spring them on Marinette when Adrien wasn't anywhere in the vicinity or else face the combined wrath of Alya and Marinette (which she was not willing to do), but she was sure that that wouldn't be that difficult.
She wasn't expecting Alya to intercept her first.
"Oh, you should put those up in Marinette's room and see how long it takes for her to notice," Alya's voice said with a snicker several minutes before homeroom started. Alix jumped and spun around, abruptly abandoning her conversation with Kim. Alya stood there, perusing Alix's folder of ridiculous Adrien photos. How she had snuck up completely undetected was... well, it was very Alya. "I bet it would take her a while to notice."
Alix snickered at the suggestion, remembering her original idea of absolutely plastering Marinette's room in Adrien photos. It would be a good way to tease her about her crush a little bit while maybe helping her realize that she should calm down about having pictures of Adrien up everywhere. "Or I can mix in actual decent photos with these and then stick them in all sorts of weird places."
Alya grinned. "Such as...?"
"On the walls, under her bed, in the desk drawers..." Alix added, that original funny idea coming back full-force. She grinned, then glanced towards Marinette's normal seat. It was empty, as was Adrien's seat up front. "Where is Marinette, anyway? She's running late again."
Alya threw a look over her shoulder and then shrugged. "Who knows. But that gives us time to plot." Without waiting for further answer, she slid onto the bench next to Alix. "So, show me what you have!"
It wasn't difficult to find a time to sneak into Marinette's room when Marinette herself wasn't there. It was difficult to find places to put all of the photos they had dragged up.
And there were a lot. Along with the less-than-good photos, Alya had dragged up a whole slew of photos from old magazine ads Adrien had done, as well as screenshots from some of his commercials. Alix was a bit worried that the poster putty she had brought wouldn't be enough.
"At least her desktop picture isn't so awful anymore," Alix commented as she reached over the computer to attach one of the pictures on the wall behind it. "That was...yikes."
"I think she changed it when Adrien came over to play Mega Strike," Alya told her. She handed Alix a smaller photo to hang next. "And then she went with an, uh, unaltered photo next, after he left. I don't remember if she lost the collage one somehow or what."
"Good riddance to that one," Alix muttered. She clambered off of Marinette's desk, making sure to replace everything on it where it had been. "Okay, where should that next poster go?"
Half an hour later, Marinette's room was thoroughly decorated and she and Alya were puzzling over what to do with the leftover pictures.
"We can't put them too high, or Marinette won't be able to get them down again," Alya said. She flipped over a particularly bad photo of Adrien doing what appeared to be a Vulcan salute. Alix had maybe done a teensy bit of Photoshop on it to make an already pretty bad picture worse (and to get rid of the "fan" who, in Adrien's defense, looked slightly unhinged), and she was...well, a bit creeped out by the result would be the most accurate description. "Where did you find this?"
Alya snorted in amusement. "Oh, gosh. Okay, let's stick these under Marinette's bed and on the underside of her chaise and see how long it takes for her to notice. There's no point in wasting a perfectly good picture."
"Or a perfectly awful photo." Alix made another face at the Vulcan salute photo and then handed it to Alya to take. "Okay, yeah, good idea."
It didn't take long to stash away the rest of the photos and get the rest of their mess cleaned up so that they could go. Alya led the way towards Marinette's trapdoor, opening it and starting to climb down.
Alix paused, turning to look back at the room one last time. An inkling of doubt crept up her spine. "You're sure there's no way that Adrien would see this? He wouldn't come over to play video games again before Marinette can clean up?"
Alya shook her head. "Nah, he wouldn't come over out of the blue. And you know he would never go into Marinette's room without her permission, and she would want to clean up her normal posters before letting him up. Believe me, it'll be fine."
"I hate you," Marinette announced the next day at school as soon as she saw Alya. She was pouting. "Very funny."
Alya tried not to grin. "It was Alix's idea first. She helped me."
"I hate you both."
"Aren't you going to take the pictures down?"
Marinette glanced up from her homework at Tikki. "Hmm?"
Tikki pointed to the pictures covering all of Marinette's walls. "The pictures! Shouldn't you take them down?" She frowned at Marinette. "You aren't thinking of leaving them up, are you? Marinette..."
"I'll take them down, just not right now," Marinette said, turning back to her homework. "I just don't have the time! I'm really behind on my schoolwork, thanks to all of the akumas we've had, and I shouldn't prioritize cleaning photos off of my walls over that."
"Oh, that's smart." A pause. "But you'll take care of it soon, right?"
"Marinette, about these pictures..."
Marinette shook her head, eyes not leaving the computer screen in front of her as she typed. "This is due tomorrow. I'm already on thin enough ice with Madam Mendeleiev, I can't possibly ask for an extension for no apparent reason. It'll have to wait."
Tikki considered the wall. "Can I take some of them down? The really awkward ones?"
"Sure, I guess."
Tikki worked her way around the room, removing the worst of the photos from the wall. It was slow work, mostly because she had to remove the poster putty from the wall as she removed things, and she didn't want to accidentally leave any marks like she and Marinette had in their frantic tearing-down of posters when Adrien visited. Once she was done, there were still a lot of photos, but at least they were mostly normal.
Hopefully Marinette would have a spare hour soon to finish returning her room to its normal state.
"Marinette, are you going to take the photos down today?"
Marinette paused with one foot out the door. "I can't! I told Maman that I would help down in the bakery. Tomorrow, for sure!"
Marinette had pulled three large photos down when her phone rang with an akuma alarm. Sighing, she tossed the picture in her recycling without a second glance (she was never going to mention how photogenic Adrien was within Alix's hearing range ever, ever again- where the other girl had found such awful photos she had no idea) and raced up to her balcony to transform.
"About those photos-"
"Can I take more photos down?"
Marinette glanced up from her Physics homework. "Yeah, I guess? Just don't do this area, I don't want to get distracted."
Tikki frowned. "Marinette, I'll have to take down those photos sometime. Can't you work somewhere else? Downstairs, maybe?"
"I'll do it this weekend, after the Jagged TV thing," Marinette promised. "But for right now, I can't. I need to use my computer for this assignment."
Alix stared at her TV in horror. There, in full color on the screen, was Marinette's room.
And Marinette's wall.
And a number of the pictures of Adrien that she and Alya had put up two weeks prior.
And Jagged Stone was pointing to them and the camera was focusing on them, bringing them up full-screen.
"She didn't take them down?" Alix exclaimed, fingers clutching at her hair. How? Why? Sure, Marinette had mentioned being crazy busy and really behind after spending time working on a sewing project instead of doing her homework, but surely she could have spared a couple minutes to clear her walls.
At least it looked like she had gotten the purposefully bad photos down, and most of the room was largely free of pictures. It was just that corner of the room, really-
-but that one corner was really bad. Like, it was plastered with pictures, from desk to ceiling.
This was bad.
Her phone rang, and Alix scrambled to answer it. "Hello?"
"We gotta fix this," Alya said, sounding panicked. "Oh, gosh. I never thought- no one else was meant to see that! At least it wasn't her entire room, but- Adrien's gonna be so weirded out, and it won't even be her fault."
"Maybe we can text him?" Alix suggested. "Let him know that it was part of a prank? Even if half of those photos were Marinette's anyway." It would be their apology to Marinette if they did that, she figured. Everyone else would forget about the photos after a few weeks, but Adrien wouldn't, and Marinette would probably flounder through an explanation too badly to be any use if Adrien approached her with any questions. "Should we text him now, or wait until school tomorrow?"
"Do you think we can get to him before he spots Marinette?" Alya asked, not even waiting for Alix to answer before she plowed on. "I think it would be hard to explain anything over text, personally, but- oh! I could call him, hang on-"
The line abruptly went dead and Alix flopped back in her seat, watching the screen. Marinette had chased the cameras out of her room- and Alix had to give her props for how composed she was keeping herself while surely embarrassed beyond belief, and she was ordering Jagged Stone and Alec around too, and they were celebrities- and now Tom and Sabine were trying to shoo the crew out completely, except some strange stuff seemed to be happening.
Like, mega-strange stuff.
Alya called Alix back a minute later, once it had been confirmed that there was an akuma at the bakery- and poor Marinette, she must be having an awful day- and Alya sounded frantic. "He's not answering his phone. I tried calling three times and nothing."
"Maybe the pretty boy is busy and missed the show?" Alix suggested. "You could ask Nino."
"Nino is out of town this weekend. He won't be back until Monday." Alya groaned. "Oh, this is such a mess."
"Maybe we can just wait until Monday?" Alix suggested as she watched Chat Noir get flung into a news van on-screen. "I mean, Adrien is always early and Marinette is almost always running in last-minute anyway. Surely we can catch him before Marinette gets there."
"Sounds like a plan," Alya agreed. "So, any ideas for excuses as to why we covered Marinette's room in pictures of Adrien?"
Adrien wasn't in the classroom. It was three minutes to the bell, and Adrien wasn't in the classroom yet.
Alix was starting to get concerned. How were they meant to corner Adrien and give their excuses if the boy was MIA?
And then, a minute before the bell, Adrien slipped through the door and into his seat. Marinette followed forty-five seconds later.
There was no way they hadn't run into each other in the locker room. Alix hoped that Marinette hadn't said anything too strange to him. If she had, all the excuses in the world from Alix and Alya wouldn't help anything.
They cornered Adrien in their next break between classes.
"Hey, you two, what's up?" Adrien asked. He looked a little puzzled about being cornered, but it only barely showed. "I saw you tried to call me yesterday, Alya- sorry I didn't pick up, I was busy."
"You're always busy, we're used to that," Alya said cheerfully, waving it off. "But, uh, we wanted to talk to you about something- well, admit something, rather- anyway, did you see the Jagged Stone show yesterday?"
Alix tried not to snort. For a moment there, Alya had sounded rather like Marinette trying to talk to Adrien.
"I did," Adrien told them, grinning. "Jagged looked like a ghost with the flour all over him, didn't he? I'm glad Tom and Sabine were willing to kick them out, though. They didn't have to go all the way upstairs."
Alix winced. "So you saw that part, huh?"
Adrien's answering nod was so slight that it would have been easy to miss it.
"The wall of photos was actually our fault," Alya admitted. "We put it up as a joke- we hid photos all over her room, actually, we should probably actually tell Marinette about that, if she hadn't found those- and she's apparently been too busy to get it all cleaned up."
Adrien looked puzzled. "Wait, that was you guys? Then why didn't Marinette just say so? And why pictures of me?"
Alix and Alya exchanged a surprised look. Apparently Marinette and Adrien had already talked, and Marinette hadn't made a complete mess of it.
Maybe they should have talked to Marinette to see what she had told him first.
"Maybe she just didn't want to explain the prank?" Alya suggested after another couple beats. "A-and it was pictures of you because of, y'know, the fashion thing, and it's really easy to find pictures of you. It wasn't anything bad at all, I swear."
Adrien huffed out a small laugh at that. "It is easy to find pictures of me, isn't it? It's a bit annoying at times. But I guess it saves my father from having to take photos of me growing up himself." He shrugged. "But thanks, I guess? That would explain why some of the photos weren't from any of my photoshoots. I did wonder."
"Heh heh yeah, that was us." Alya flashed a too-wide smile. "It was just a bit of fun, y'know? We wouldn't have done it if we knew it was going to get onto TV."
"Right, I figured." Adrien glanced over to where Nino and Max were talking. "Thanks for telling me, I guess. See you in class?"
"Of course," Alya and Alix said in near unison as Adrien waved to them and left. They both let out a sigh relief as soon as he was out of earshot and then dissolved into giddy giggles.
"Well, that was easier than I thought it would be," Alya said a bit breathlessly as they recovered. "He kind of accepts any excuse, doesn't he? He probably made it really easy for Marinette to come up with something."
"Hey, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth." Alix started walking towards their next class, and Alya followed. "Adrien listened to us, and apparently Marinette managed to get some coherent sentences out around him earlier, so that's a win. And Jagged and his crew didn't manage to, say, upend the chaise and scatter photos all over on live TV, so win there too, I guess."
They walked in silence for a few moments.
"So d'you think you could make it over to Marinette's house after school today?" Alya asked as they joined the group of students heading into Madam Mendeleiev's classroom. "To help Marinette take down posters and clean up all of the photos we hid? I feel like we kind of owe it to her to help."
Alix winced. She had been planning on practicing her roller-skating sprints, but yeah, they did kind of owe it to Marinette. She had probably already spent enough time taking stuff down already, and Alya might not be able to remember all the places where they hid photos away.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll be there."
A/N: It's all Alix ad Alya's fault. Obviously.
I just had a big problem with how Marinette was being portrayed as more of a stalker/crazy fangirl than she has been in the past (where she had a collection of photos and yes, it was over-the-top, but it was believable for a girl that age with a crush and access to said crush's modeling photos). The photos under the bed and under her couch thing also was just... not consistent with the character at all. So...this happened.
As with most of my stories, this is a one-shot and is therefore complete. And as always, reviews make my day! :)